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MINGORA: A project has been launched to preserve and promote the local ‘Torwali’ language and culture of scenic Bahrain and its adjacent hilly areas in Swat district.

The USAID-funded project would be executed by a local civil society organisation, Idara Baray-i-Taleem-o-Taraqi (IBT).

Addressing the inaugural ceremony, the IBT executive director Zubair Torwali said that they had been working on the promotion and development of the endangered languages spoken in northern Pakistan, especially in the war-ravaged Swat valley.

He said that the project titled ‘preservation and promotion of Torwali language and culture’ was a one-year project, adding that Torwali was one of the endangered and ignored languages. He said that there were about 100,000 speakers of Torwali in upper Swat with the tourist destination, Bahrain, as its centre.

Mr Torwali told the participants that a language was very much related to the people’s identity as it was an effective means of education and communication. He said that once a language died, a nation died, leading to the death of a great portion of the world heritage.

Aftab Ahmad, a member of IBT, highlighted the major features of the project, saying that during the course of the project four books in Torwali would be produced and published.

He said that the first book was on the grammar of Torwali language; second was a 3,000 to 5,000 words dictionary of Torwali with alternatives in Urdu and English; the third book was on the daily usage of the language which will be translated in Urdu and English so that non-Torwali speakers might also learn the language. He said that the fourth book would contain folktales of Torwali with translation in Urdu and English.

He said that a four-member team of researchers associated with IBT would complete the project in one year. “The team will visit faraway villages in the Torwali speaking areas and will carry out research,” he said.

Mr Ahmad said that during the second part of the project, the Torwali music would be composed.

Elderly people of Torwali community also spoke on the occasion and extended their help to the researchers in collecting data for the proposed books.

FREE HEALTHCARE: Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter, has provided free healthcare to more than 0.2 million people in three health centres in Swat.

Lt-Gen (retired) Hamid Khan, the society’s KP chairman, visited the district and showed satisfaction over the health services rendered by PRCS for the vulnerable people of the far flung areas.

He also met with the patients visiting the health centres and inquired after their health. He also announced to provide an X-ray machine in rural health centre, Chuprial.

On the occasion, Hamid Khan also donated wheelchairs and hearing devices among the handicapped and deaf people.

During the visit, Hamid Khan inspected the under-construction office building of PRCS, which will house a vocational training centre to impart different skills to the underprivileged people.

Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2014